One of the benefits men and women receive in exchange for service is military retirement pay. In Oregon, in fact, tens of thousands of people — some of whom are the parents of disabled children — have accumulated retirement pay benefits as the result of past or present service in a branch of the armed forces.
Unlike other federal employees, however, military members can only designate a little more than half of their retirement pay to provide care for a surviving disabled child. And to make matters worse, any military retirement pay a disabled child receives as a survivor benefit is counted as income, which in most cases will disqualify the child from continuing to receive Medicaid or Social Security Disability benefits.
A new bill known as the “Disabled Military Child Protection Act of 2012” could fix this loophole in the military retirement system and is now under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The law seeks to provide for the long-term care of severely disabled children of military members by enabling men and women who’ve invested in a military Survivor Benefit Plan to transfer those benefits to a Special Needs Trust, which would be accessible to their disabled children after they die — something civilians and non-military federal employees have long had the ability to do.
Rep. Jim Moran, the congressman who introduced the bill and the father of a special needs child, says that “(w)hen health care costs for disabled kids can top $100,000 a year, the military needs to give parents the opportunity to plan for their special needs children’s future.”
More than 1,000 severely disabled military dependents would immediately benefit if this legislation is approved by Congress and signed into law by the President.
Source: Insurance News Net, “Moran Introduces Bill to Protect Disabled Military Children,” Apr. 3, 2012